Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder may have signed the state's budget into law on June 22, but some legislators and school districts–including Dearborn–are still pushing lawmakers to restore funding.
Education funding restoration rallies were held across the state Monday, the first of which took place in front of Dearborn's Long Elementary at 8 a.m. A small crowd of school employees and parents gathered as Rep. George Darany (D-Dearborn) spoke about the need to continue putting pressure on Republicans to restore K-12 state funding.
"There's a lot we feel we can still do and we can still bargain with the governor and the Republican delegation to do things, we believe, the right way," Darany said. "So we're keeping the pressure on them to let them know this is not going away. We've already voted for it, but they need to make some changes."
According to the Detroit Free Press, Gov. Snyder called the $46 billion budget a "jobs budget" and a "kids budget," touting it as a fair compromise that will maintain schools and create jobs.
"The $12.7-billion School Aid Fund will give $300 per pupil less to school districts–a 2.2% reduction from this year. Districts that show cost-cutting initiatives could get more money from a $100-million pool," the Free Press reported.
"Public universities will absorb a 22% cut in state aid–15% if they hold down tuition costs to 7% or less–and there will be $100 million less for local communities."
In Dearborn, Rep. Darany said Monday, the cuts will be much steeper due to the loss of categorical and at-risk funding. The real loss, he said, is closer to $1,000 per pupil.
That funding is unlikely to come back to Dearborn, Rep. Darany said, but the hope is that if the pressure stays on Gov. Snyder and legislators, anything is possible.
"(At-risk funding can be restored) only if the governor turns around and says, 'OK, we can adjust the budget here and there,'" Darany said. "There's ways it can be done legislatively, but it's an uphill battle for him to go back on that.
"I don't see a whole lot of hope there."
The Dearborn Public Schools 2011-12 budget, as a result of funding losses, includes the layoff of 48 educators, as well as multiple cuts in other areas. The budget is set to be voted on at Monday night's Board of Education meeting.
"It's just devastating news," Darany said of the local budget cuts, but added that he doesn't see it turning into a drop in quality of education in the city. "Dearborn will rally, as they always do, and we'll always have good schools in Dearborn."